Weekly Email 11-17-21

Dear Dharma Friends,

In these contentious times, I find myself turning toward the Five Training Precepts of Non-Harming: refraining from intentional injury; refraining from taking anything that is not freely given; refraining from misusing sexuality; refraining from false or injurious speech, and refraining from consuming entities that cloud the mind and lead to carelessness. These have been especially useful supports for mindfully engaging in the public arena of political discourse. As I look to the future and I think about how we can bridge deep divides, I’ve been reflecting on using the five precepts as an ethical framework to explore engagement and reconciliation. Here are my work-in-progress Precepts for


We begin with the intention of not harming self or other, even as we engage with hurt and trauma.
We resolve not to take anything that is not our own, including any projections we may think another holds.
We take responsibility for monitoring and working with our own energies, not letting them undermine or overpower our engagement with others.
We practice deep listening even as we speak our truths, acknowledging the limits of our own understanding.
We restrain ourselves from acting on any impulse that fosters carelessness in either or both senses of the word – being heedless and being heartless.

I hope these initial reflections will be of some benefit. May we all find a path of peace. May we all be free from suffering.

Patrice Koelsch

Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground

*As a reminder, vacccination, masking, and social distancing are required for in-person programs.*

Silent Open Meditation
Monday-Saturday, 7:30-8:30am,
Sundays 8:30-9:30am,
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:00pm, &
Wednesdays, 11:00am-12:00pm

Wednesday, November 17th
  • Autumn and Steve Compton alternate offering In-Person Qigong from 9:30-10:30 on Wednesdays, now meeting inside at Common Ground.
  • Nancy Boler is now offering an In-Person Mindful Yoga Class on Wednesdays, from 12:05-1:05pm.
Friday, November 12th
  • Nancy Boler is now offering a hybrid In-Person/Zoom Mindful Yoga Class on Fridays from 9:30-10:45am.

Sunday, November 14th

  • Livestream of Weekly Practice Group with Shelly Graf, 10:30-11:45am. The meditation hall is open on Sunday mornings for community members to gather to watch the Weekly Practice Group livestream together on a screen. There will be a program host there to facilitate conversation for those who wish to stay afterwards. Shelly will be teaching online from the office.
  • In-Person Weekly Practice Group with Patrice Koelsch, 7:00-8:30pm.
Saturday, November 27th
  • In Person: Daylong Retreat with Patrice Koelsch: Abiding in the Divine Abodes, 9:30am-4:00pm. More info and registration here.
Monday, November 29th – Saturday, December 18th
  • Zoom/In-Person: Community Practice Intensive with Shelly Graf & Gabe Keller Flores. The Community Practice Intensive is an opportunity to increase the amount of time we spend doing formal meditation practice, as well as commit to being mindful throughout our day, for a period of just under three weeks. More info and registration here.
Saturday, December 4th
  • In-Person/Zoom Mindfulness and Recovery Retreat with Mary G. and Charlie B., 9:00am-12:00pm. More info and registration here.

Upcoming Programs In Person at Common Ground’s Retreat Center at Prairie Farm

Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. Registration is now open for the following programs there.

  • WAITLIST ONLY: Practice Period with Matthew King
    Thursday evening, December 2nd – Sunday mid-day December 5th. Registration here.
  • Practice Period with Matthew King and Tracey Ghilardi
    Thursday evening, December 16th – Sunday mid-day December 19th. Registration here.
More info and registration for these programs can be found here. Please note that we are currently requiring vaccination and masking for programs at the retreat property.

Upcoming Programs: Online

Wednesday, November 17th

  • Shelly Graf will lead the Weekly Practice Group; a cornerstone for one’s practice by providing ongoing instruction and teachings that will help illuminate the simple but challenging practice of mindfulness. 7:30pm-9:00pm on Zoom.
Friday, November 19th
  • Shelly Graf will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. Today’s meeting and every other session we will explore racism through an inquiry into whiteness and domination. All are welcome. 9:00-10:00am on Zoom.
  • Jean Haley & Jane Rauenhorst will lead the monthly Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group. 7:00-8:30pm on Zoom.
Saturday, November 20th
  • Ramesh Sairam will lead the biweekly Dharma Practice Reflections group, 10:30am-12:00pm on Zoom.
Sunday, November 21st
  • Shelly Graf will lead the Weekly Practice Group, 10:30-11:45am on Zoom.
  • Wynn Fricke and Gabe Keller Flores will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 4:30-5:30pm on Zoom.

Tuesday, November 23rd

  • Stacy McClendon will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 12:00pm-1:00pm on Zoom.
Saturday, December 11th
  • Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf, 9:00am-1:00pm. More info and registration here.
  • Couples’ Workshop with Jane Rauenhorst & Jean Haley, 9:00am-12:00pm. More info and registration here.
These are program highlights. To see a complete list of all our programs and access Zoom links to participate, please visit the online calendar. Also, please note all times listed are in central time.

The Practice of Generosity

Continuing in the tradition of Buddhist monasteries in Southeast Asia, all programs at Common Ground are offered free of charge in the spirit of generosity. This offering is possible because of the generosity of people like you—from the Buddha on down to all the people in our community—who contribute their practice, time, and financial resources to support the continuation of the center.

To learn how to support the center and our teachers, visit this page. Let us know if you have any questions.

Current Volunteer Needs

  • Tuesday evening bellringer: We’re looking for someone interested in ringing the bell for the evening sit on Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00pm, once or twice a month. Email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if interested.
  • Flower arrangers: Do you like flowers? We are looking for a couple flower-arranging volunteers at Common Ground. Training provided! Email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if interested.
  • Snowblowing Team: It’s that time of year to start thinking about the snowblowing team again! If you’re interested email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org. The way we do it is you sign up for times when you’re on call to respond if there’s a snowfall. We need both shovelers and people to operate the snowblower. Snowblowing training provided :)
  • Biweekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every other Sunday evening there is drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leader Brad Dupre. Next date: Nov 28th
  • Cooking for Practice Periods at Prairie Farm: There is a tradition in Buddhism of supporting people doing intensive retreat practice. We are always looking for volunteers interested in cooking and freezing meals ahead of time for retreatants at Prairie Farm. You can see a list of recipes here. Common Ground has pots and tupperware you can borrow for cooking and freezing. Contact retreatcenter@commongroundmeditation.org if you wish to offer a meal. Or to donate in support of groceries for the retreatants, you can designate a gift for “CG Retreat Center” here.

Community News

   Upcoming Community Group Meetings

  • Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wed. Nov. 17th. On Zoom, 7:30-9:00pm.
  • Refirement Community Group for Retirees. Thurs. Nov 18th. On Zoom, 12:00-2:00pm.
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group. Thurs. Nov 18th. In Person/Zoom. 6:30-8:00pm.
  • Buddhism/Christianity Book Club. Sat. Nov 20th. On Zoom. 10:30-11:45am.
  • Mindfulness & Depression Community Group. Sun. Nov 21st. In Person/Zoom, 4:00-5:30pm.
  • Tea and Dharma Community Group, Tue. Nov. 23rd. In Person, 8:00-9:00am.

Racial Affinity Group Looking for New Members
If you would like to join an ongoing RAG, we have 1-2 openings in group. There are three of us now, middle-aged-senior white women. We meet the second Tuesday of every month from 6 – 8 PM CST on Zoom. Please contact gabe@commongroundmeditation.org and he will put you in touch with the group.

Upcoming Antiracism Programs with ASDIC
Our friends at ASDIC (Antiracism Study and Dialogue Circle) have some online programs coming up, open to all:

  • What These Times Demand: Why ASDIC’s Work is More Important than Ever, with Okogyeamon, Professor Joe R. Feagin, and Joy Sorensen Navarre on November 17, 7-8:30pm CT. Registration here.
  • Third Sunday Forums: Conversations on Race, Nov 21 and Dec 19, 12:30 PM. More info here.
Registration Open for EcoSattva Course
Put on by One Earth Sangha, The EcoSattva Training is a course several CG leaders have participated in over the last few years. From their website: “The EcoSattva Training is an eight-part series designed to support you in developing your response, internal and external, to a changing world. We’ll offer new insights from multiple Dharma traditions as well as the growing field of climate psychology as we soothe these tender bodies, hearts and minds. Supported by these teachings and one another, participants can discover and cultivate a way forward.”
Arrow River Forest Hermitage Looking for Steward
Some of you will be familiar with Arrow River Forest Hermitage, where one of CG’s longtime visiting teachers, Ajahn Punnadhammo is the resident Buddhist monk. The hermitage will be needing someone to act as steward starting mid-December. The steward is a volunteer position and is responsible for cooking the one meal a day, managing the kitchen and doing the shopping. It is strongly preferred if you have a driver’s license. For more information check out the Visitor’s Pages on their website. Please send all inquiries to abbot@arrowriver.ca.

Anyone in the Western Suburbs Interested in Forming a Satellite Group?
A community member in the western suburbs is looking for others to practice with in person, in that area. If you would be interested in this, please let gabe@commongroundmeditation.org know!

Weekly Tejaniya
Don’t exert. Just pay attention to
whatever objects are arising in your
awareness—physical sensations, sense
perceptions, thoughts, emotions,
whatever. You will know what
needs to be known.

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